The Nest


MEMBERSHIP: Agni, Brahma, Kali, Mara, Ratri, Shiva, Vishnu, Yama Dharma

PURPOSE: Currently unrevealed;
    formerly solving the problem of the world's depleting energy resources


ENEMIES: Boris (Dr, Mishkin's translator), Dr. Fermizi, Sir Lionel, Stephen Marchesi, Dr. Mishkin, Spider-Man, Sen. "Stoneface" Turner, X-Men (Banshee, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Phoenix ("Jean Grey"), Professor X, Storm, Wolverine)

ALIASES: entity;
    formerly the Lords of Light and Darkness

BASE of OPERATIONS: Currently unknown;
    formerly the Nest, Pahute Mesa, Nevada desert

FIRST APPEARANCE: Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1976)



(Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Nest was built as part of a top-secret government project over a process of seven years.

(Marvel Team-Up Annual#1)  - United States Senate special-projects investigator Stephen Marchesi was sent to evaluate the progress of the Nest. Dr. Araman Nila was working on his Nila Pile via remote manipulators (Waldos) when an earthquake struck. The Nest was rocked by tremors, shattering the plexi-screen separating Nila's chamber from the rest of the facility, and lethal quantities of radiation flooded the building. The atomic pile, shattered by the earthquake, began to glow and then exploded, obliterating the entire facility.

(Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (fb)) - Nila was closest to the pile, and his mind was the first to be ripped out, twisted, searched for memories, and bombarded with unknown levels of radiation, infusing the rest of the scientists with the stuff of his thoughts, of his mind. Nine people died, but only Marchesi remained dead; the other eight were reborn, molded and mutated by the Hindu stories that made up Nila's remembrances, stories that made them akin to gods.

(Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (fb) - BTS) - The "gods" of the Nest found that they were unstable, in danger of disruption as the impurities of the Earthly plane bombarded their molecular structures: They needed to transcend this aspect of being...or die!
    In addition, they found that the energies of the planet were bound to them, and that the world would be consumed at the moment of their deaths.






(Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (fb) - BTS) - One year after their transformation, the "gods" of the Nest detected a being with the power to help them escape Earth. That being was Phoenix (the Phoenix force in the form of Jean Grey).

(Marvel Team-Up Annual#1) - The "gods" of the Nest assaulted a plane as it flew overhead. The plane, containing the participants of an international conference on man-made mutation, was suddenly enveloped by a black cloud (courtesy of Ratri) and then attacked by a legion of Rakks. Fortunately the symposium included--among others--Empire State University science graduate student Peter Parker, as well as Professor Charles Xavier, who had brought his students, the X-Men. Spider-Man and the X-Men defeated the Rakks and assisted the plane in landing relatively safely. Using an anti-radiation spray from Russian scientist Dr. Mishkin, the heroes approached the Nest, where they were attacked by Kali and Yama Dharma. After a short struggle, the heroes fell before the members of the Nest, after which they identified Phoenix as the one they had been seeking (apparently she was the reason they had crashed the plane).

   Spider-Man and the rest of the X-Men were placed within force fields, while Brahma explained the origins of the Nest to Phoenix. However, the rest of the heroes figured out that while their own powers were useless against their own force fields, they were able to disrupt the force fields of the others, and they soon broke free. However, as they did so, Brahma continued his explanation, telling Phoenix that they were drawing energy from her stellar plane to nourish the Nest members, and that when they had absorbed enough, they would depart, leaving Earth a dying husk in their wake. They needed a ninth being--Phoenix--to bind their energies, a focus to stabilize their path to godhood and guard against molecular disruption. And in the end, Phoenix would become one of them.

    The X-Men and Spider-Man opposed the "gods" of the Nest, holding their own until the point when the moment of final dissolution came for the "gods."  Shiva and Kali revealed that the Earth would die when the "gods" died (might have gotten better cooperation if they'd have revealed that EARLIER!), but Spider-Man reasoned that if the "gods" could be transported into space, there would be enough energy for them to do as they pleased, without affecting the Earth.  Phoenix mind-linked to Brahma, and then the X-Men combined their powers and efforts to transport the "gods" into space, where they transformed into something...else. They became a single star-like entity.
    In addition, the Nest and its surroundings were purged of radiation in the process.







COMMENTS: Created (plot) by Bill Mantlo, Chris Claremont, and Bonnie Wilford.
        Written by Bill Mantlo, drawn by Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito.

The group was never called the Lords of Light and Darkness, but it was on the cover, and it was the title of the issue.

Where was the entity the Nest became during Quasar's adventures on the Stranger's prisonworld?

The essential bit to note is that Bill Mantlo, both in the MICRONAUTS expanded version of SWORD IN THE STAR, and the X-MEN MTU with the Hindu Gods (Marvel Team-Up Annual#1), utilized ideas from Roger Zelazny's Hugo-award winning LORDS OF LIGHT.

The Hindu Gods as portrayed in MTU are lifted straight from Zelazny's modified Hindu pantheon.

Mara in Zelazny's version (hence, Manlo's) is a male god with the power to cast illusions -- nicknamed The Dreamer. (Sort of like the X-Men's Mastermind.)
Mara (unlike all the other characters from the Nest (and most of the deities in "Lord of Light") is not based on a Hindu deity, but rather a demon from Buddhism, who tempted the Buddha when he was attaining enlightenment as he sat beneath the Bodhi tree. According to legend, Mara cast visions of various temptations at the Buddha, who resisted and was not dissuaded from his goal. Mara is usually viewed in a very negative light. In that the book Lord of Light deals directly with the interaction of Hinduism and Buddhism, and that the protagonist is playing the role of the Buddha, it is clear this is who the character was based.
--Andrew Apold
Offhand I don't recall a Maya or Maia in LORD OF LIGHT, but there might have been one. She would have been a minor character.

The major players were Yama (Death - the One in Red), Agni (Lord of Fire), Kali (death, female), then Shiva (chaos), Ratri (night)... Brahma was supposed to be in charge but he didn't do much... Wayfinder in its MICRONAUTS appearance is sort of like Zelazny's hero, Kalkin (or Siddharata, or Sam, or Binder) -- except Sam is not blind and there's no Sword in the Star...

Did I read somewhere that the Sword in the Star was supposed to be Galactus' lifeforce/consciousness very very far in the future? I can't have made that up....  So obviously SOMEONE revisited the theme after Mantlo...
--That would be Universe X, issue#5 to be specific (as I was reminded by Crekeels). What's true of Earth X is not necessarily true of any other reality unless expressly stated as such in non-Earth X books. That's my policy, and that's Marvel's policy, too. I wasn't even allowed to make it the classic Deathlok the Demolisher that appeared in the Heralds mini-series. That doesn't mean that it is definitely not true, though...just no more true than if it had never been printed--Snood.

Jean-Marc Lofficier

The Nest was reported to have been closed in September of 1975, while the explosion was reported in the newspaper in November. I don't know whether either of those months are topical, but the year is, because the story took place in the modern era.

Profile by Snood.


Agni is obviously patterned after

Brahma is obviously patterned after

Kali is obviously patterned after

Mara is obviously patterned after

Ratri is obviously patterned after

Shiva is obviously patterned after

Vishnu is obviously patterned after

Yama Dharma is obviously patterned after

The Rakks were named after


Agni, Lord of Fire

Dr. Araman Nila

A Radiation Expert from India, he left India before being drafted into government service, and he brought with him specialized materials and knowledge about irradiating common materials and other aspects of radioactivity. The Nila Pile that he invented represented a totally new way of harnessing large amounts of energy.

Unsurprisingly, as Agni he could generate fire.

see top image

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1



Brahma the Creator

Dr. Brian Mann

One of the world's foremost nuclear physicists, he designed of the Nest facility.

As Brahma he could speak telepathically and take a slash from Wolverine unharmed.

see top image

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1




Kali, the Black Madness
"Goddess of Death"

Dr. Karen Lee


    A Geologist, she was the former wife of Stephen Marchesi and current wife of Si Fan Chung (Shiva). Her seismometers detected the earthquake just before it struck the Nest

    She used a chaos wheel, which fired blasts of sonic force.


--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1







Mara the Dreamer

Dr. Martin Aaronson

A radiation expert

As Mara, he could generate illusions and nightmares.

see top image

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1




Ratri, the Night

Randy Tate

A former flight attendant, she was the project's overseer and administrative secretary.

Believe it or not, she could generate blackness, possibly a manifestation of the Darkforce.

see top image

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1




Shiva the Destroyer

Dr. Si Fan Chung

An Astronomer, he was the husband of Dr. Karen Lee (Kali).

As Shiva, he used a trident from which he could project destructive blasts.

see top image

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1




Vishnu the Preserver

Dr. Victor Norman

A Biophysicist, he investigated biological changes after exposure to intense radiation.

see top image

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1




Yama Dharma, the Death-Lord

Dr. Jan Maarshall

A Swedish electrical engineer, he created the Rakks.

He could fire blasts of destructive force. His body was made up of some cosmic energy or was a portal to another realm, as when he was unharmed when cut open, revealing a vista of stars and space within him.

--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), [1(fb) - BTS], 1









Robots named after the Rakshasas, demons from Hindu mythology, they served as the guards and security at the Nest.

They can fly, fire energy blasts, and tear through the hull of a plane with their tentacles and pincers.


--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb), 1






Stephen Marchesi


    A United States Senate special-projects investigator Stephen Marchesi was sent to evaluate the progress of the Nest, he was present during its destruction. He was not resurrected alongside the members of the Nest.


--Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1(fb)


images: not counting ads
Marvel Team-Up Annual#1, p2 (Marchesi)
        p3 (all Nest members except Nila)
        p4, panel 2 (Nila)
        p10, panel 2+3 (Rakks)
        p22, panel 2 (Yama)
        p24, panel 5 (Kali)
        p26, panel 5 (Nest, faces)
        p26, panel 7 (Nest, knees up (except Brahma)
        p34, panel 2 (transformation into star-like entity)


Marvel Team-Up Annual#1 (1976) - Chris Claremont (plot), Bonnie Wilford (plot), Bill Mantlo (plot/script), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)

First Posted: 07/20/2005
Last updated: 10/14/2013

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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